Crossing Through No-Man's Land

The mysterious defection of an all-American G.I. Joey

It is an edgy, spartan existence for U.S. soldiers stationed along the two-mile-wide Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. In the "truce village" of Panmunjom, through which the border runs, two large bunkers, essentially allied observation posts, are dug into barren knolls. One of the bunkers is known as Guard Post Ouellette.

Early on the morning of Aug. 28, PFC Joseph White of St. Louis was on duty, assigned to scan the North Korean frontier just 15 yds. away. Some time before dawn, White walked...

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